Hovland Rallies From Six Back, Wins Hero World Challenge

Albany, Bahamas (AP) – Viktor Hovland made consecutive eagles and closed with consecutive bogeys while overcoming a six-shot deficit to win the Hero World Challenge on Sunday and keep Collin Morikawa from reaching No. 1 in the world. So wild was this final round of the year for golf’s elite that Morikawa, who started the day with a five-shot lead, wasn’t even a factor over the last hour at Albany Golf Club. Hovland closed with a 6-under 66 in his debut at a holiday event that was filled with pure chaos involving eagles and triple bogeys, none more bizarre than Jordan Spieth hitting his drive off the ninth tee from what was a new 17th tee for the final round. Just about everything did. Ultimately, this was about another 24-year-old star in the making adding to a big year. It just wasn’t the one so many expected. Morikawa, the British Open champion and first American to be No. 1 on the European Tour, missed three birdie chances from 10 feet or closer at the start of the round and then went sideways with two shots into the bushes at Nos. 4 and 6 that led to double bogeys and a 41 on the front nine. He closed with a 76 and tied for fifth. A victory would have made him the 25th player to reach No. 1 in the world since the ranking began in 1986. That still belongs to US Open champion Jon Rahm, who didn’t play this week. Hovland was among five players who had at least a share of the lead at some point. That changed on the reachable par-4 14th for more than just Hovland.

Jordan Spieth first almost went out of turn. Then he had his ball teed up a fraction ahead of the marker before Henrik Stenson pointed it out. Turns out that was the least of their problems on the ninth hole at the Hero World Challenge. They were playing from the 17th tee. To spice up the final round at Albany, the PGA Tour moved the tee box forward on the par-5 ninth hole to allow more players a chance to reach the green in two. They used the original ninth tee for the par-3 17th so the hole would play a little shorter and over the water. Both tee boxes had a large white sign indicating the hole. Spieth and Stenson didn’t notice … Daniel van Tonder won the SA Open as fellow South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout secured a sixth-place finish to lock up a year-ending position in the world’s top 50 and a spot at next year’s Masters.

Scores: https://www.pgatour.com/leaderboard.html

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